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Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?

GUEST,Azoic 11 Mar 13 - 10:43 PM
Crowhugger 11 Mar 13 - 11:00 PM
Bruce from Bathurst 12 Mar 13 - 03:12 AM
GUEST 12 Mar 13 - 04:48 AM
GUEST,Stim 12 Mar 13 - 12:56 PM
GUEST 12 Mar 13 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,Stim 12 Mar 13 - 07:15 PM
GUEST 12 Mar 13 - 07:26 PM
Thompson 14 Feb 16 - 05:09 PM
DebC 14 Feb 16 - 05:17 PM
Thompson 14 Feb 16 - 05:20 PM
open mike 14 Feb 16 - 05:34 PM
GUEST,Guest (Marcia Palmater) 14 Feb 16 - 09:19 PM
GUEST,James Olson 14 Feb 16 - 11:53 PM
GUEST,Musket 15 Feb 16 - 03:15 AM
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Subject: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST,Azoic
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 10:43 PM

It seems to me that record companies used to send out more promotional compact discs than what is happening these days?If I am right, does anyone have any notion as to why this is?


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: Crowhugger
Date: 11 Mar 13 - 11:00 PM

Are you thinking bigger/biggest companies or the smaller/indie/niche-market lables, or all of the above? It would be interesting to know, too, if indeed the practice has decreased, has it been supplanted by sending links to files instead. And where DO people in various demographic groups first hear music? If not on the radio is it youtube or other links sent by friends or...? (I haven't answers, only curiosity and questions to offer this thread.)


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: Bruce from Bathurst
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 03:12 AM

I've been presenting a folk program on community radio since 1976 and I've definitely notice a reduction in physical CD traffic coming my way in the past few years. I'm in Australia, so international postal costs might be a factor for non-Australian labels, but the trend is definitely towards encouraging presenters to download music.

Most of the presenters in my situation are volunteers and may not have the time or inclination to sit in front of a computer chasing downloads. One common complaint is that presenters like to have comprehensive album sleevenotes while we're on air and those useful, objective, sleevenotes have largely been replaced by promotional blurbs on web pages.

There have been many long and heated discussions among radio people about the merits of this method of distribution.


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 04:48 AM

"Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?"

True story about why I don't send CDs to radio stations anymore (except for a dozen that play my music).

Five years back I sent a few mp3s to a disk jockey in the US asking whether if he had the physical CD he would give it some play. He seemed enthusiastic so I sent him two: one for the station and the other for his personal library. He said he'd be playing four cuts from it about three months later. I kept that in mind and checked his show's playlist. He didn't play anything from the CD. I released another a few years later and he wrote to me asking if the station could have a copy. I politely wrote back and pointed out that he hadn't played the first CD I'd sent a few years earlier (at his request), so while I'd be happy to send a CD I would do so only after receiving payment by cheque or PayPal, because my investment in his personal stash of CDs would continue only under those terms. Never heard back which is just as well.

Incidentally, two DJs in Australia do give my stuff play, so the cost of getting CDs to them is not an issue because it is returned in airplay.

I now write to DJs first--DJs who play my kind of music because there's no point sending folk stuff to a blues show or rock stuff to an opera show, etc--to ask if they would play songs from the CD if they had the CD. IF they reply (and many are either too busy to reply or don't care for the material so don't reply) in the affirmative, I send the CD. Otherwise, what's the point wasting the CD cost, mailing cost and my time?

I am aware that radio stations receive hundreds of CDs per month and cannot personally reply to each and every 'artist'. I therefore appreciate stations that make clear on their websites what kind of music they accept and where to send that music. Many don't. (No point remarking on that.) Promo CDs are only slightly less expensive to produce than the CDs they are promoting, btw.

The nature of the music industry has changed. Few people make money selling CDs. If you're indie or with a small label, bucks are tight. Why make the bucks tighter by sending CDs into a bottomless pit? I do relatively well selling CDs at gigs. These days, I don't count on radio at all and haven't for years now, and I think more than a few people in my situation feel the same way. YMMV.

Many CD producers no longer see radio stations as being relevant to what they do. Yes, it's nice to hear something you've done played on the radio, but if it doesn't translate to sales then what's the point? Large companies still send out lots of promo CDs, but promo is short for promotional copy, and large companies are able to write-off that cost. True, eventually it's the artist's cost but why split hairs? The end question is cui bono, and if the artist doesn't 'bono' very much then it just ain't worth it.

Last, I hear you when you say you're a volunteer and that many presenters such as yourself are volunteers and so have little time to chase downloads, etc. Something that would help those who may want to send you CDs is for you or your station to make clear on your site what you expect and what you will accept. Possibly from that you will attract CDs that fit your requirements and expectations thus wasting less of your time and less of musicians' time and resources. It's a bugger of a problem. I hope you find the answers you're looking for on this thread. Best wishes to you.


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 12:56 PM

The glib response is, "What's a cd, and what' radio?". It all went to iTunes and iPods, and now, with Spotify, those may soon be outmoded. All you need is a playlist now. As to marketing, I don't like very much, but Facebook and Google seem to know what I listen to, and let me know about new releases. i can find the old stuff with "search".

Last night, I listen to 4 solid hours of Dave Swarbrick on spotify, which took me three minutes to "program" which should knock the wind out of the "Most of the presenters in my situation are volunteers and may not have the time or inclination to sit in front of a computer chasing downloads." argument.

Folk music, especially the more traditional stuff, is not very well represented on the music download sites, though, and a clever folkie would do well for the artists, the music, and themself, by compiling an online archive of all the good stuff.


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 06:52 PM

"Date: 12 Mar 13 - 04:48 AM"

I'm the guy wot posted there. One more thing: A few years back the institution of DJ-dom lost many fans. As a songwriter and recording person, I always thought DJs were the 'place' to get your music to. Good people who ran a program, knew their stuff and would play you even when you weren't around. Then CDs started showing up on e-Bay and the bubble burst. Kinda like finding out that your fave all-time DJ was accepting a Cadillac car for playing certain songs. To understand that feeling you'd have to watch Wolfman Jack in the movie 'American Graffiti.' DJs were the next things to gods; maybe in a way they were gods.

I don't know how it fell apart. Maybe it was BIG companies that married each other; money that found better ways to make money. Maybe it was just shit that happened. What I do know is that there are a dozen DJs who will get everything I ever did when I croak, not because they played me once, but because they played me every now and then. And for that alone I will ever be in their debt. As a person who records songs it is important to me that people hear my music. I prefer that they enjoy it, but I will wake up tomorrow even if they don't.

'. . . when makers and breakers love the world of the takers more than loving the world of the noise, when the movers and shakers leave the rest of us asking what ruined the girls and the boys.'

No offence meant to anyone.


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 07:15 PM

Your bubble got burst? No offense, but what planet were you raised on? The DJ profession has been dodgy since the year one. And the corruption went way farther that selling your CDs on ebay. And way back before there were CDs or eBay. Haven't you ever heard of Payola, or pay-for-play, or the Fifty Dollar Handshake?


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Mar 13 - 07:26 PM

Yes, Stim, but from a teenage musician pov that wasn't the way I saw it. Fuck, son, I grew up in a 'hood before there were 'hoods. Life was music, music was life. Thing is, the way it is ain't the way it's s'posed to be. Capiche?


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: Thompson
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 05:09 PM

Pourquoi pas - ask away :)


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: DebC
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 05:17 PM

There has been a lot of discussion about this on the Folk DJ listserv . Read what the DJs are saying. To me, it looks like many of them still want physical CDs.

Deb Cowan


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: Thompson
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 05:20 PM

If the price of media keeps going down, they'll soon be sending out flash drives. Or, of course, offering Dropbox downloads of songlists.


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: open mike
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 05:34 PM

d.j.'s (the D DOES stand for DISC!!)often volunteer their time to program their radio shows....and are not always able to afford to burn songs and tunes on their own budget...so some that are only offered by download or online from dropbox or other source may not get the airplay they deserve due to financial constraints. I know that musicians are sometimes also not able to foot the bill for demo discs, but if all things work as they should they hopefully will have sales of their material when people hear them. As a d.j. I feel as if I am working for the benefit of the artists, and providing a channel for their heard-earned work to reach the ears of the people!!! (and I always try to announce the source of the music and include contact info so that people can purchase the music and connect with the artists.


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST,Guest (Marcia Palmater)
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 09:19 PM

Interesting thread! As a DJ myself (ducking) I have to say that I can do much better by an album if I have the CD, with notes.

I do NOT request CDs unless I know what the artist does and am sure it will fit my format (the music of Atlantic Canada, with emphasis on fiddle). And if someone writes to offer me a CD, I discourage them from sending it unless I feel confident it will work for me.

I understand how tough it is for musicians to make a living. I did my show for 0$ for 31 years; now, on another station, I'm paid $25 and some cents every two weeks. So I'm not rolling in wealth either!


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST,James Olson
Date: 14 Feb 16 - 11:53 PM

Yes, it is! Now, all you have to do is bring a flash drive with you.

______________
LD 8 Containers


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Subject: RE: Are radio promo cds a thing of the past?
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 15 Feb 16 - 03:15 AM

A friend does a folk and roots programme on a local radio station. He gets a few cd demos a week, although a few USB sticks and emailed tracks reach him too. Mostly, emails and tweets have links to YouTube files.

Some of the CDs are given to me, I have a listen in the car whilst travelling and let him know if any are worth a punt. (He also books for local concerts.).


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